Google’s $400 Pixel 3a unveiled with a camera of an $800 phone

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

After months of rumors, the Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are finally here. The two were announced at the Google I/O 2019 much to expected fanfare as they remind many of the good old days of Google Nexus.

To many hardcore fans, we have been waiting for years for Google to release the Pixel 3a. The phone comes with all the good stuff that Google Pixel 3 is known for but at nearly half the price. To arrive at this price point, though, the search giant had to cut a few corners, but not at the expense of the overall user experience, at least based on early impressions.

For the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, the premium glass build on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL is replaced by plastic. There is no IP6X rating for dust and water resistance and Google doesn’t mention anything to do with Corning Gorilla Glass protection for the display screen. The Pixel 3a duo also misses out on the dual front-firing stereo speakers and dual-lens selfie camera.

Google Pixel 3a

Google dropped the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 8xx series in favor of a midrange Snapdragon 670 chipset, but the memory combo is the same as the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. The battery capacity of the smaller Pixel 3a is also the same as the Pixel 3, but the 3a XL has the biggest in any Google phone to date – a 3700mAh unit.

Google Pixel 3a is a $400 smartphone that’s equipped with the kind of camera we see in the $800 Pixel 3.

While the Pixel 3a pair might not be the best designed or spec-packed phones at their price, they are the best in two major aspects: photography and software support. These two areas are where Google excels and they are what make the Pixel 3a such a special phone at its price.

With the Pixel 3a, Google has a $400 smartphone that’s equipped with the kind of camera we see in the $800 Pixel 3, meaning you get the same quality photos that have made the latter such a popular device at half the price. On the front, the 3a combines the two lenses on the Pixel 3 into a single 8MP unit with a wide-angle lens of 84 degrees.

Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL

As expected, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL will receive three major Android OS updates up to May 2022, that is, Android Q, Android R, and Android S. The duo also keeps the Pixel 3’s squeezable edges and AR Core support.

Perhaps what’s the best part of the Pixel 3a pair is the return of the 3.5mm audio jack. While this doesn’t in any way confirm that the Pixel 4 will also get one, it’s a good thing to see that Google is listening and actually doing something about it.

Here is a summary of the specs:

Google Pixel 3a

  • 5.6-inch 18.5:9 FHD+ (2220×1080) OLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB non-expandable storage
  • 12.2MP main camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 9 Pie

Google Pixel 3a XL

  • 6.0-inch 18:9 FHD+ (2160×1080) OLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB non-expandable storage
  • 12.2MP main camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • 3700mAh battery
  • Android 9 Pie

Google Pixel 3a XL

Some of the extras you get on both phones include Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, Active Edge, 18W fast charging, AR Core, etc. No, there’s no wireless charging.

As noted, the Pixel 3a goes for $399. On the other hand, the Pixel 3a XL will set you back $479. Unlike before, the two phones are now available through multiple carriers in the country, including the usual suspects in Verizon Wireless and Google Fi.

T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and even Verizon’s Visible will also stock the new Pixels. You can have either phone in Clearly White, Just Black, or Purple-ish job paints.

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